COVID spike affecting ambulance services

Coronavirus

Ambulances tied up at hospitals because there are few beds

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The spike in COVID cases from the delta variant is not only packing hospitals, it’s having a ripple effect on other emergency responders.

Ambulances have to wait longer to drop off patients because beds aren’t always available. Officials with AMR told KOIN 6 News ambulance services nationwide are feeling the effects of overwhelmed hospitals and the same is true here in Oregon.

In a statement, AMR officials said: “Because hospitals are receiving an unprecedented number of patients, ambulance crews must often wait with their patient until a hospital bed becomes available. Ambulance crews encounter such wait times multiple times every day.”

And while ambulances are tied up at hospitals waiting for beds to become available they can’t respond to other 911 calls.

“The staffing issues is connected to all of health care,” said Dave Northfield with the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “Unfortunately this is having a big impact not just on patients who have COVID but patients who are facing all sorts of issues.”

During this latest surge the OAHHS said 400 people who needed a hospital bed statewide weren’t able to get one.

While COVID case numbers have dropped slightly they say projections show hospitals won’t see the impact of that for months.

Health leaders maintain that if you want to help health care workers who are exhausted and just trying to survive, the best thing to do is to get vaccinated.

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